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Keywords:

  • photovoltaic;
  • public policy;
  • prices;
  • Australia;
  • Japan;
  • Korea

ABSTRACT

The transition to a sustainable energy system now seems to be inevitable. The role of renewable energy sources in this mutation will be crucial. Amongst these, photovoltaic electricity has recently grown due to strong national policy support. Indeed, it appears as a good solution to substitute conventional fossil fuel, especially in the Asia–Pacific region where reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a real challenge.

This paper aims to review public support for photovoltaic energy by focusing on the policies of three emblematic developed countries of the Asia–Pacific region: Australia, Japan and Korea. The efficiency of these different policies is assessed by comparing their estimated total costs. These costs can have different origins: market incentives, demonstration programs and subsidies for research and development (R&D). The public investment was compared with installed capacities in order to evaluate the efficiency of the energy strategy.

The point made by this study is that a well-planned policy limiting unwanted side effects should be preferred. Even if expensive in the short term, innovative technologies are beneficial in the longer term, and thus R&D subsidies should be maintained. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.